Many people in California wish to adopt a child from another country and raise him or her as a U.S. citizen, and if you are considering this option, you may be wondering what immigration laws apply to your situation. In the past, the process included several steps that created complications and sometimes resulted in problems for the adopted child. The U.S. Department of State explains that the federal government passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 to help eliminate the difficulties that some experienced due to the previous system.
After you have adopted a child abroad and met certain qualifications, you may not have to file an application for naturalization in addition to the process you completed. You or your spouse must be a U.S. citizen for a child under the age of 18 to be eligible, and the child’s admissibility also depends upon the completion of the adoption process overseas. You must have both physical and legal custody, and the child’s status upon entry into the country must be as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence.
Failure to take action during the adoption process could make it harder for your child to become a U.S. citizen, and this could interfere with getting a job, acquiring financial aid for college or voting, as well as other benefits of citizenship. Additional steps may be necessary to help your foreign-born child become a legal permanent resident or citizen in some cases, and factors unique to your situation may apply. Therefore, this information should not be taken as legal advice.